Enterprise Northern Ireland in partnership with Responsible Finance is an official Delivery Partner of The Start Up Loans Company that was set up to deliver loans and mentor entrepreneurs embarking on business.
New data from the Government-backed scheme shows it has issued a total of 63,920 loans to fund small business across the UK, with the average loan amounting to £7,823.
Of those who received a loan, almost two-fifths (39.3%) were women, one in five (22%) came from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME), and more than a third (36.5%) were unemployed when they applied for the loan, reflecting the diversity of the UK start up community.
The Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank, has lent money and provided mentoring support to aspiring business owners in every part of the country and its impact has been particularly noticeable in areas of deprivation.
People supported by British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans have used the funding to set up businesses in a wide range of sectors. As well as finance, every loan recipient is offered a dedicated mentoring service and access to a free expert business mentor for 12 months to help them with every aspect of setting up a business.
They include a couple from Cumbria who opened Cut the Wrap!, a plastic-free supermarket; a father from Manchester who created Naturelly, a brand of healthy snacks for children; and a woman from Ulster who used the funding to turn a waste ground into a wildlife centre for children.
Patrick Magee, Chief Commercial Officer of the British Business Bank, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we have supported so many fantastic small business owners from up and down the country. The hard work and determination of the UK’s 5.7 million small businesses make a huge contribution to society, and it’s great to see latest research showing that the economic benefits of the Start Up Loans programme are nearly six times its economic costs.
“We’re committed to helping small businesses prosper and grow and we look forward to supporting many more in the future.”
Kelly Tolhurst, Small Business Minister, said: “This half a billion pound funding milestone is a great cause for celebration and a clear demonstration of our modern Industrial Strategy in action - supporting people to start and grow a business, creating good jobs and increasing the earning power of people throughout the UK.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and I’m particularly pleased to see that so many women and entrepreneurs from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds have benefited from this government-backed scheme. This record funding is backing the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit and enabling people across the country to follow their passions and start and grow a business.”